Alex Freeman, a senior international relations major at Lawrence University, is the recipient of a Rotary Global Grant for graduate study abroad. She will be pursuing her Master’s of Science in global media and communications in London.
The Rotary Global Grant is a $30,000 scholarship for graduate-level study abroad awarded by the Rotary Foundation. With clubs all around the world, Rotary International is a nonprofit that works to better local and global communities. Freeman was awarded the grant by the Appleton club for using media and communications tools to promote peace and conflict resolution.
“Media can be used for so much good and so much harm," said Freeman, of Kansas City, Missouri. "There need to be people who are actively and intentionally using it to change harmful narratives and to share the stories of people who need the most help.”
Examine pressing issues of international security, challenges of political economies, and the influence of international institutions
While international relations and journalism may seem like separate fields, Freeman’s studies and experiences have informed each other, she said. Through understanding the relationships between the press, the people, and their governments, Freeman is learning how to use media to create positive outcomes.
Freeman’s multiple areas of study, including her minors in anthropology and Chinese, have helped her pursue a broad variety of experiences, both on and off campus. She interned in Taiwan with a news company while studying abroad, and she studied the effects of media in Sierra Leone. Freeman said she loved studying media's interactions with society, from on-the-ground discourse to governmental action.
Lawrence’s small campus and involved professors make work and study opportunities more accessible, Freeman said. She has worked in the Office of Communications for four years and served as an editor for The Lawrentian, the student newspaper.
“You have the opportunity to do more things here than at any other school,” Freeman said.
Freeman will begin her graduate-level studies abroad, first at the London School of Economics and Political Science and then at Fudan University in Shanghai. Freeman is grateful for the Rotary Foundation’s sponsorship and can’t wait to connect with Rotary International in London.
“The Rotary is so international and involves so many people trying to do good around the world," she said. "Having this ‘in’ and connections abroad…I’m hoping it’ll expose me to different perspectives.”
Freeman is excited to study in London, where journalism has a rich history. She said she’s seen firsthand how involved the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is in global media. She hopes studying close to this international news hub will allow her to further both her media and international relations knowledge.
Freeman said she plans to eventually work in nonprofit communications and advocate against harmful and stigmatizing narratives.